‘She-Hulk’ showrunner trolled the trolls from the very beginning

The troll to rule them all.

words by: Alee Kwong
Nov 13, 2022

Nothing makes a troll more upset than the classic Uno Reverse card. The two main goals of being a troll are having the last word and having that last word cut as deep as possible. Ideally, you would want to leave your opponent speechless and absolutely gutted. In this ripe age of the internet (and unsolicited, grubby little hands in film and television culture), trolls have flocked together and migrated towards racism and misogyny. Their latest target? The Disney+ and Marvel Studios streaming series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.


Despite all their efforts, and review-bombing before the show’s premiere on Disney+ in August, showrunner Jessica Gao had a plan. She was fully aware that she couldn’t stop the internet trolls even if she tried, so she got ahead of the problem years before they even mobilized. Not only did she address misogyny very early on in the series, but the misogynist forum trolls are the main villain of the story.


Fans were led to believe very early on that Jameela Jamil’s Titania was set to be She-Hulk’s adversary, but the members of the online forum, Intelligencia, ended up being the larger force that Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk had to face.


“Our writers room opened three years ago. The fact that we were able to predict what the reaction was going to be, what a lot of the trolling comments were going to be, really shows how very tired and unoriginal these trolls are. That really tickled me because the little troll that lives inside of me really loves trolling the trolls,” said Gao.


What will probably continue to add salt into the wound is the fact that Gao is an Emmy-winning writer from a show that many of these men enjoy — Rick and Morty. Pickle Rick? An idea born from the mind of the She-Hulk showrunner, and the episode that won her the Emmy in 2018.


Tatiana Maslany, who plays Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, added her two cents and admiration for Gao’s writing style and overall direction. “Jessica Gao is a genius and knows about the culture we’re living in and her position in it when she’s writing these stories about a woman superhero. She knows what that response is going to be. As a cast, it was delightful sending each other these troll responses, like ‘Oh my god, give them a week and then they’re going to literally see this pop up verbatim in the show and become the villains of the show.’ It was thrilling.”


“Reading the script, it was so true. There’s so much resistance to a woman just existing in that space of superheroes. There’s always going to be that. I sort of anticipated it. It’s why I also feel it’s important. There’s such an entitlement to space held by certain people, and to even exist as She-Hulk is like a ‘f*ck you,’ and I love that,” she continued.


So, who even is She-Hulk? We got you. And on the review-bombing? We weren’t lying about that. Plus, a fan-favorite and familiar face makes an appearance in season 1: Check it out.


Photo via Mike McMahan